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Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim for Surgical Negligence


Surgeons, like all health care providers, have a duty of care to provide quality treatment that ensures their patients' safety during an operation or medical procedure. When a patient is injured or killed due to a surgeon's negligence, the surgeon may be held liable for medical malpractice.

However, just because you were injured during a surgery does not mean you are entitled to file a lawsuit against your treating health care provider. There are certain factors that must be present in your claim for you to recover compensation.

Below are common factors that Baton Rouge medical malpractice attorneys look for to determine if a patient or his or her loved ones have a claim for medical negligence. To learn more about your legal options, contact Simien & Simien to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case

Building a medical malpractice case requires all four elements below meet the standard of proof as required by law:

  1. Doctor-patient relationship: A doctor-patient relationship is established when a health care provider agrees to diagnose or treat a patient's medical condition. This means the health care provider has a legal obligation to provide appropriate care and treatment.
  2. Breach of duty: The health care provider breached his or her duty of care by failing to provide a level of care that meets the medical community's standards. To prove breach of duty, the health care provider must have failed to act or provide a level of care that a doctor with the same training and experience would have under similar circumstances.
  3. Causation: The health care provider's breach of duty caused or worsened the patient's medical condition.
  4. Damages: The health care provider's breach of duty resulted in the patient suffering damages, such as an injury or worsened medical condition and financial losses from additional treatment.

What is a Surgical Error?

A surgical error occurs when a surgeon's negligent actions falls below the accepted standard of care held by the medical community. This means the treatment provided by the at-fault surgeon deviated from the type of care a reasonably competent health care provider would have in the same situation.

Causes of Surgical Errors

Patients entrusting their procedure to qualified surgeons may have experienced the following due to medical errors committed by professionals acting with reckless regard to their profession:

  • Incompetence: The surgeon may be inexperienced or unqualified to perform the type of operation required to treat your medical condition.
  • Inadequate preoperative planning: The surgeon failed to adequately prepare for your surgery. This may include neglecting to review your medical history or failing to ensure all necessary equipment is available when the operation begins.
  • Incorrect work process: This may occur when a surgeon decides to take short cuts or fails to follow the proper guidelines that ensure a safe procedure.
  • Neglect: The surgeon may neglect to sterilize the tools used during your operation, use equipment that does not work as directed, administer an improper dosage of anesthesia or leave a surgical tool inside your body during the surgery.
  • Fatigue: Sleep deprivation is common among health care providers and may increase the risk of a surgeon committing a medical error.
  • Drugs or alcohol: The surgeon was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol while he or she performed your operation.
  • Poor communication: The surgeon and his or her medical staff failed to communicate with each other before the procedure. Poor communication may result in several medical errors, such as marking the wrong site for surgery or administering the patient with an improper dosage of medication.

Examples of Surgical Errors

Patients who entrust surgical procedures to professionals trained to perform these risky operations may have encountered:

  • Severing a patient's major artery
  • Performing an unnecessary procedure
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Making an incision at the wrong area of the body
  • Leaving surgical tools or equipment inside the patient
  • Cutting a patient's nerves, leaving him or her unable to react to pain or touch

Contact Simien & Simien to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you believe you suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to a health care provider's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

Simien & Simien's personal injury lawyers in Baton Rouge have helped numerous victims of negligence obtain the justice and compensation they deserved. We understand how to recognize surgical negligence and will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to help you determine if you have a case.

All of our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront fees when we represent your claim. The only time you have to pay us is if we recover compensation on your behalf.

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